Malaysia is going through a turmoil time! We are disappointed on the turn of event! The party whom we trusted and voted is now with the kleptocrats. The people’s voice have been ignored and without our consent, a “backdoor” government is formed!
For those MPs who supported this event, shame on you! You betrayed our trust!
Although we are far away from Malaysia, we are still Malaysians at heart. NO to kleptocracy from the Netherlands!
On 5 October 2019, Global Bersih and Bersih France organized a “Malaysia Baharu” forum in Paris, France. We had representatives from Bersih Netherlands, Bersih Germany and Bersih Switzerland gathered in the Holiday Inn hotel for the forum.
Among the points taken from the forum:
a) The centralization of power on one person (Malaysian Prime Minister) is still worrisome for many Malaysians
b) The current government is losing support from the people who have voted for them in the last General Election because of unfulfilled election manifestos and promises. For example, the abolition of the Sedition Act is still not done.
c) The infighting and disagreements within the current PH coalitions is impacting their implementation of the promised reforms
d) Quality of education and racial divisions in Malaysia continue to be major concerns of all Malaysians
e) The current government needs to find the “middle ground” to make and implement policies that benefit all Malaysians regardless of race and religion
f) Instead of getting political support based on race and religion agendas, the current ruling coalitions need to start to get support based on hope and new reforms as agenda.
g) Global Bersih as a civil society can highlight and continue to press the government to “get their act together” to fulfill their election promises and manifesto.
After an exciting forum, we had a drawing demonstration from Zunar and later the drawing was sold in an auction to the highest bidder. Proceeds were then donated to Global Bersih to continue their cause for a better Malaysia.
We had also a great and enjoyable dinner with Zunar and participants from Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland.
Kudos and well done to Bersih France for organizing and hosting the event!
Sharing from ROSE (NGO in Sarawak) : In view of the political will that has brought down the age of eligibility to vote etc plus AVR, the eventuality is a drastic increase in number of voters..This not necessarily a good thing if Nothing is done to inform and educate young and old on franchise and rights of voting including role of being citizen- As part of the strategic plans set at the beginning of this year, we will need to take on projects aiming to educate younger folks. The attached copy of text book was shared with us and you should have a look at what a Form 4 student would have learnt in 1970 in his or her Civics class. First chapter is already on system of governance.
Malaysians in the Netherlands came together again for a Summer BBQ on 29 June 2019 before the summer holidays start. We gathered at Pauline and Jorrit’s place in Zuid-Beijerland for a great outdoor BBQ fun. It was a potluck session where each person brings their own homemade dish.
We had lots to eat, shared lots of laughter and exchange views on our lives in the Netherlands. Looking forward to another Malaysian event!
We had our first Bersih NL gathering in Utrecht on 19 Jan 2019. About 14 members and friends attended the event. Our members brought desserts and homemade cakes. As it was near Chinese New Year, we also had “yu sang” (Chinese salad) as a symbol of a better and prosperous new year!
Bala (Chairman of Global Bersih) and Nirmala (Secretary of Global Bersih) joined us via Skype and we discussed what Global Bersih is currently working on:
1. Raise fund for the Electoral Reform for Overseas Voting project. The aim is to be able to hire one person to be based in Kuala Lumpur for GB to work directly with EC and Bersih 2.0 on the overseas voting.
2. Perform survey on Electoral Reform – target to be sent out by end of the month
a) Look at the current survey form and suggest improvements
b) Collect as much information as possible via the survey
c) Follow-up actions after the survey
The meeting lasted about 3 hours and we all had fun, enjoyed the fellowship and delicious Malaysian “kuih”. We look forward to contribute to nation building for a better Malaysia!
Figure 1 – Sharing homemade food including “yu sang” and other cakes
Figure 1 : Prof Bridget Welsh speaking in our forum
Figure 2 : The audience listening tentatively to Prof. Bridget Welsh
Figure 3 : Our team and Bridget after the forum session
Bersih NL has once again successfully organized a forum about Malaysia Baru on 3 November 2018 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. We had the privilege to have YB Maria Chin (via Skype), Prof. Bridget Welsh and Dr Greg Lopez (via Skype) as our speakers and panel members. Prof. Welsh provided us her great analysis on what happened during the 14th Malaysian General Election (GE14) in May 2018, how the change of government happened and what forces and challenges the new government is facing post GE14. Critical take-away from her talk are:
Change is possible “one of the stories of the year”
Change of government, not “regime change”
‘Minority victory’ dependent on East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), “Malay deficit” in support within Malaysia as a whole
New coalition government, with problems inside this governing coalition source of instability
Elites within the system critical facilitators in actual transition on May 10, and they are continuing to pressure for “safe landings”
Shifts in voting behavior not about “race” but a combination of drivers including generation and class factors, new frameworks for understanding Malaysia needed
YB Maria Chin shared with us her focus as the new Member of Parliament (MP); which are the Reform Agenda and to address the issues of the people in urban slump (B40). Finally, YB Maria stressed that this is the time for Malaysian diaspora to join Global Bersih to make a pitch to the new Election Commission (EC) chairman and committee members on electoral reform as they are seen to be more open to change and align to the electoral reform proposed by Bersih 2.0.
Dr Greg Lopez has also shared his views. For example, on one of the questions from the audience, which is on the topic of “brain drain” among Malaysians. He mentioned that Malaysians are now more connected via the Internet that the knowledge sharing is now more wide spread globally among Malaysians living overseas.
We also had other NGOs like BothENDS (https://www.bothends.org/en/) and Global Bersih chapters (Bersih Scotland and Bersih Germany) joining us for this event.
Going forward, is for us to form small working groups where we can brainstorm on the areas for us to focus and research on, with the aim to produce proposals to help our new cabinet members and MPs to address the many pressing issues regarding electoral reforms, education, restoration of the forests, new alternative energy and waste management. If you would like to join us in this nation building effort, do email us at [email protected]
Professor Bridget Welsh is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Asian Outreach at John Cabot University. She analyzes Southeast Asian politics, especially Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia and other countries in the region. In the aftermath of the stunning results of Malaysia’s 14th General Elections on May 9, JCU Associate Professor of Political Science and Malaysia expert Bridget Welsh is one of the lead commentators in international media. Her most recent books are entitled “End of UMNO Post GE14: Essays on Malaysia’s Former Dominant Party” (2018) and “Regime Resilence in Malaysia and Singapore” (co-edited with Greg Lopez, 2018).
Figure 2 – Indelible ink (stays on your finger for months!)
1) SPONSORSHIP : Through the “Pulang Mengundi” campaign, we are proud of our Bersih Network Netherlands’ members and friends to have sponsored five students (first time voters) from Sabah and Sarawak to fly home to vote from their universities in West Malaysia. This is to encourage our young generations to exercise their rights to vote as citizens of Malaysia.
Figure 3 – Bersih NL members collecting ballots at Schipol Airport to be hand carried back to Malaysia by our runners
Figure 4 – Bersih NL’s efforts were featured in local newspaper “You were late, but we still made it!”
2. OVERSEAS’ VOTING BALLOTS : Another proud moment is that 27 ballots have been successfully transported back to their respective polling agents a day before the polling day by our runners from Germany! Thanks to the Undi Rabu runners also, who carried our ballots to Kuantan, Alor Setar and Johor Bharu. The rest of the ballots were passed to family members in the Klang Valley or to Penang and Bukit Mertajam. Our team was also featured in the local newspaper (China Press)! Kudos!
The screening of The Borneo Case and Live Forum with Maria Chin Abdullah and Clare Rewcastle-Brown on 9 March 2018 was a success! Thank you ISS for having us. We are very inspired by both Clare and Maria for their great efforts for a better Malaysia!
Thanks to all who helped. Hope this event has inspired you to remember Malaysia and the sacrifices of the activists who are speaking up against injustice, corruption and unpunished crimes in Malaysia.